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HER Number:MDV79386
Name:Colyford Filling Station


Early 20th century filling station, now a museum of motoring memorabilia.


Grid Reference:SY 252 925
Map Sheet:SY29SE
Admin AreaDevon
Civil ParishColyton
DistrictEast Devon
Ecclesiastical ParishCOLYTON

Protected Status

Other References/Statuses

  • National Monuments Record: 1566023

Monument Type(s) and Dates

  • PETROL STATION (XX - 1927 AD to 1928 AD (Between))

Full description

Fisher, J., 1999, East Devon Conservation Area Appraisals: Colyford, 6-7 (Report - non-specific). SDV346508.

The Colyford Filling Station which was built in 1928, and retains in use a complete set of fuel pumps of the period under an original hipped canopy. It is one of the earliest preserved examples of a working filling station in England and as such attracts much fascination. Other details: Map, photograph.

English Heritage, 2011, Colyton (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV348705.

In January 2008 English Heritage began a project to assess the impact of the motor car on the historic environment, from the inception of motoring as a leisure activity in the 1890s, to the present day. The car project is due to be completed in the summer of 2012, and forms part of the National Heritage Protection Plan. A number of buildings have been identified as being of sufficient interest to merit consideration for listing; Colyford Filling Station is one of these.

Petrol filling station, 1927-8. Designed by Frederick Kett of Axminster, for W H Davey. The building stands on south side of the A3052, to the east of Colyford, facing north.

The petrol filling station at Colyford, Devon, was built in 1927-8, at the instigation of a Mr W H Davey, farmer and entrepreneur, who identified the need for a filling station on this section of the road between Lyme Regis and Sidmouth, both popular holiday destinations – now the A3052. Frederick Kett of Axminster was commissioned to design a building which was in tune with contemporary preferences. Kett took inspiration from the filling station at Countess Wear, Exeter (now demolished), a timber structure in a vernacular idiom, with a pitched tiled roof covering the forecourt and pumps, and also the rear office; the more usual arrangement was to have a separate canopy for the pumps. Kett's design for Colyford was of brick and block construction, with a half-timbered gable to the roof, and with more spacious shop and office facilities, preceded by a symmetrical frontage. The Colyford Filling Station provided over seventy years of service, with Mr Davey remaining in place until the 1970s. In the 1930s T E Lawrence is said regularly to have filled his Brough Superior motorcycle here, Colyford lying between Plymouth, where he was serving with the RAF, and his house in Dorset. The 1950s saw the end of petrol rationing, and an increase in car ownership; in this decade Colyford's original Hammond Visible petrol pumps were replaced by Avery Hardoll 598s, which were, like many other pumps, painted according to the brand of petrol sold, and the preferences of the owner. From 1945 onwards, the solus agreements introduced by the major oil companies increasingly tied petrol stations to selling petrol from only one supplier; in the 1960s, Shell became Colyford's supplier, with other companies taking over in succeeding years. The site was refurbished by the current owner in the early 1980s, and three of the 1950s pumps were replaced with modern versions. In 1988, Shell contracted to provide petrol to the filling station, using 1950s pumps which had been converted to litres. Two of the original pumps were reinstated, together with three replacements of the same model. The filling station ceased to operate in 2001. In 2003 a subsidiary building was constructed to the east, to house a collection of motoring memorabilia, and the site opened in 2004 as a museum of motoring history.

Built of brick and block, the walls being rendered above a brick plinth; the intention is apparently to give an impression of cob construction. The roof is tiled, and there are timber elements to the design, both structural and decorative. The principal windows retain their timber frames.

PLAN: The enclosed block which formerly provided the shop and office space stands to south, with the forecourt to north; both areas are covered by the roof, which rests at the front on four timber piers, the forecourt being open on three sides.

EXTERIOR: A gable with decorative timber-framing breaks the front of the pyramidal roof. The supporting timber piers are chamfered and stopped, and rest on brick plinths. The roof above the forecourt is sealed, with timber joists. The enclosed block has a central door with a glazed panel above and a recessed panel below. This is flanked by two horizontal windows, each one consisting of a large pane of glass, with a transom light above containing the original green and brown textured glass. Above the door hangs a clock, bought from a garage in Exeter, and not original to this site. There are toilet facilities to the west and east ends of the building, each elevation having a boarded door with a narrow window to either side; the windows openings to the west now hold metal-framed replacement windows. The rear wall formerly had two ground-floor windows, with a long horizontal window lighting the attic; only one window now remains, to the ground floor, and this has been reduced in size. Rising against the west and rear walls, a number of pipes, installed to provide ventilation to the underground tank. A low pavement which stretched along the front of the building from either side of the front door, and around the corners to the toilets, has been truncated at the east end by the construction of the new museum building. The corners of the pavement were originally marked by painted concrete balls, of which two remain. Placed between the posts at the front of the forecourt, five 1950s Avery Hardoll 598 petrol pumps, two being original to the site; these are painted, with plastic globes advertising different petroleum companies. Alongside the filling station to the east, set back from the front of the forecourt, and on the same plane as the enclosed part of the building, is the museum building dating from 2003; the construction and design of this building closely follows that of the filling station, with a number of the stylistic features being reproduced. The two buildings are joined by timber gates, to front and rear, but are not otherwise attached.

INTERIOR: The enclosed section of the filling station was originally divided to provide two small showrooms at the front, with an office to the rear, the attic being accessed by a staircase against the centre of the back wall. The internal partitions have now been removed, leaving the space open, and the staircase has been moved to a new position against the west wall. An opening has been cut through to the gents' toilet, which was originally accessed only from outside, as the ladies' is still. Both washrooms retain six-panelled doors and original washbasins, but the toilets have been replaced. The tall attic space provided a storage area; the roof structure remains intact, with a glazed gap in the tiles to front and rear. The interior of the museum building is open, with a small enclosed replica 'kiosk' in the south-east corner.

Ordnance Survey, 2011, MasterMap (Cartographic). SDV346129.

Unknown, 2011, Motoring Memories (Website). SDV346528.

Filling station built in the late 1920s by Mr W.H. Davey, and designed by a Mr Kett. It was built of block and brick and had a mock Tudor dormer. In the early 1980s it was refurbished, including the removal of three of the five Avery Hardoll pumps, which were replaced by modern blender pumps. In the late 1980s Shell UK showed an interest in the filling station and proposed a five year contract in which they would restore the original pumps and have them converted to litres. In 2001 it was deemed to no longer be profitable to continue trading. At this point the idea of preserving the station as part of a museum was conceived and an extension was built on the side of the building in the same style as the original to house the memorabilia collection. Other details: Photographs.

Pink, F., 2014-2015, South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment (Interpretation). SDV357736.

English Heritage, 27/04/2012, Addition of Colyford Filling Station to the List of Buildings (List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest). SDV349470.

Colyford Filling Station, built in 1927-8 to the designs of Frederick Kett. The 2003 addition immediately to the east is not included in the listing.

Reasons for Designation

Historical: as a rare surviving example of an 1920s architect-designed filling station, intended to be
sympathetic to its rural location, reflecting concerns about the spoliation of the countryside in the early days of the motor industry.

Design Interest: for its considered and distinctive design, in which vernacular and historical elements are
turned to the service of a very modern building type

Intactness: for its remarkable level of preservation, with all the most significant features surviving
Technical Features: for the five 1950s Avery Hardoll pumps standing on the forecourt, two of which are
original to the site; these are thought to comprise the best set retained in a setting in which they were once used.

Sources / Further Reading

SDV346129Cartographic: Ordnance Survey. 2011. MasterMap. Ordnance Survey. Map (Digital). [Mapped feature: #106185 ]
SDV346508Report - non-specific: Fisher, J.. 1999. East Devon Conservation Area Appraisals: Colyford. East Devon District Council Report. A4 Stapled + Digital. 6-7.
SDV346528Website: Unknown. 2011. Motoring Memories. www.motoringmemories.com. Website.
SDV348705List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 2011. Colyton. Assess Building for Designation. A4 Stapled.
SDV349470List of Blds of Arch or Historic Interest: English Heritage. 27/04/2012. Addition of Colyford Filling Station to the List of Buildings. Additions and Amendments to Checklist. A4 Stapled.
SDV357736Interpretation: Pink, F.. 2014-2015. South Devon Coast Rapid Coastal Zone Assessment Survey Desk-Based Assessment. AC Archaeology Report. Digital.
Linked documents:1

Associated Monuments: none recorded

Associated Finds: none recorded

Associated Events

  • EDV5712 - Survey of Colyford Filling Station

Date Last Edited:Jan 29 2015 2:53PM